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Melbourne Zoo

White Cheeked Gibbons

Critically endangered white cheeked gibbons are famous for pairing up for life and developing their own unique, stirring song per couple, which serves as a bond between them, as well as a territorial defence. Watching them swing gracefully from branch to branch (known as brachiating), and is sure to take your breath away with their effortless grace and ease.

Although often mistaken for monkeys, gibbons are part of the group of primates knowns as apes which includes well-known species such as orang-utans and gorillas. Gibbons are often referred to as “lesser” apes, which just means they are the smallest of the apes, averaging between 5.8 and 8kgs.

We have three white cheeked gibbons in our care, our elderly widower Tieu, as well as our pair Li-Lian (Li-Li) and Jin Huan (Jin).

Tieu is a confident, assertive male who is also known for being very clever.

Lil-li is the more outgoing partner in her relationship with Jin, often singing loudly throughout the day, never letting him get a word in! Jin is more shy and reserved, and is often be seen hugging his partner Li-Li.    

All gibbons live in evergreen tropical forests, but their populations are dropping alarmingly as those habitats shrink due to increased human demand for land. The greatest cause of tropical deforestation is new palm oil plantations, producing the oil unsustainably by removing timber to clear rainforest areas. Once the trees are removed, oil palms can be planted where the rainforest previously provided homes to a myriad of wildlife and plant species, including gibbons.At present it remains legal for palm oil to be labelled as ‘vegetable oil’. Clear labelling would enable consumers to make a fully informed choice when selecting products. Want to help? Click here >

Jin

Jin Huan is 10 years old, and was born in Toledo in the USA, before moving to Perth where he met his life partner Li-Lian. You will often see him hugging her in their treetop home.

Li-Li

Li-Lian (or Li-Li for short) is nine years old, and is friendly and assertive.  She loves visitors so make sure you stop by and say hello.

Tieu

Tieu is an elderly widower at 43 years old, but he is happy, healthy and active.  Li-li is his great-grand daughter, from his much-loved belated life partner, Vang.

world gibbon day video

International Gibbon Day

Precious primates with a precarious future are in the spotlight worldwide today as zoos and other conservation organisations draw attention to the threats facing them in the wild.   

24 October 2017
gibbons moving in YouTube video

Gibbon Greetings

Gibbons greet the day with marvelous duets: each pair develops their own signature song.

3 May 2017
  • All gibbons live in evergreen tropical forests, but their populations are dropping alarmingly as those habitats shrink due to increased human demand for land. The greatest cause of tropical deforestation is new palm oil plantations, producing the oil unsustainably by removing timber to clear rainforest areas. Once the trees are removed, oil palms can be planted where the rainforest previously provided homes to a myriad of wildlife and plant species, including gibbons.
  • There is a sustainable palm oil alternative: establishing plantations on land previously used for another crop, such as coconuts or rubber. The Zoos Victoria Don’t Palm Us Off campaign aims to change Australian labelling legislation so that manufacturers would be required to state when palm oil is in a product, and if so which kind?
  • The options for manufacturers are using the unsustainably produced oil or the preferred alternative: sustainable, CSPO (Certified Sustainable Palm Oil), which is produced without harming wildlife.
  • At present it remains legal for palm oil to be labelled as ‘vegetable oil’. Clear labelling would enable consumers to make a fully informed choice when selecting products. Want to help? Click here >